Here we go. Now for the Pick-Four Lottery. The official list of approved candidates for this year’s Board elections is: Michael Boucher, Diane Brazil, Serap Brush, Ann Marie DelMonico, Mike Fish, Ophir Frieder, Diana Shay and Vikki Valentine.
Okay, wait. How ’bout for once we pick the right four? That is, rather than just by personality, looks, quasi credentials, or darts… how ’bout we choose the best individuals? Better yet, how ’bout we carefully select the right ensemble to address our present issues? How ’bout a team that’s aligned with our vision for the future? That would be good.
That in mind, let’s step back. Why should we/YOU even care? The simple answer is that in short order this place has gone to Hell. Perhaps that’s a little extreme. But look around. Despite the lipstick-on-a-pig sales happy talk from the Evans-Milazzo cabal, we’re in the red over a mil (chronically), the staff’s now openly complaining, and the place is dirty and deteriorating. Community? Forget it. That’s gone. As to security, what security? And it all seems to have happened in two years.
What actually did happen? Regrettably, we have a Board president that likes to interpret roles/rules preferentially and then play in the dark. And we have a Board that’s given him free rein to do just that. Not good. But frankly, that’s spilt milk.
For some, that inspires “throw the bums out!” But again, WAIT! Things are never as simple as they seem. Rumor has it that a few (as in most) board members have recently broken ranks. Apparently, a handful of lawsuits and a dozen or so pictures later, and the Board majority is uncomfortable with the status quo. That’s good. At the very least promising. Suffice to say, it’s a good reason to NOT throw the baby out with the bathwater. BUT HERE’S THE PROBLEM: None of them are willing to step up and be president either. Arrrgh.
So, we need to think ensemble. We need to focus on the right team to address our problems. And we need especially to make sure we pick at least one among them willing to step up and lead. That in mind, here they are:
1. Michael Boucher — Successful businessman. Also a veritable bull in a china closet. Boy can he bellow. Some say he’s toxic. Those that know him and love him acknowledge he’s an acquired taste. Fact is, the stuff he’s bellowed about is just the things we should be focused on. He’s talked about and pushed hard for transparency, fiscal responsibility and management accountability… for years now. He’s been right and even some of his most strident opponents give him well-deserved credit. But that said, it would be hard to vote for him. And that’s not about him, it’s us. We’ve got too many among us that just cannot get past personality. Our loss. He’s got a ton to offer. Boucher would absolutely keep the Board open and honest; and that’s exactly what we need. OUR RATING: 2 stars (Would have given him four stars but discounted him by half due to elect-ability.)
2. Diane Brazil — Retired exec with a great skill set. Was with Health Care Service Corporation for 37 years. More importantly, she’s lived here since ’95, and owned since the Association’s inception. In her words: “I witnessed our transformation to community and the operational efficiencies that made 111 an A-class building. This was accomplished by Homeowner active participation in conjunction with the cooperative efforts of our staff. It took teamwork. But over time, we lost our spirit of community and the fundamentals that are essential in making our building great. I’d like to be a participant on the Board and work alongside Homeowners to restore what we’ve lost.” Most of all Diane’s a fighter that’s been uniquely active in Board oversight. OUR RATING: 4 stars
3. Serap Brush — Doctor Brush is an Associate Professor, Environmental and Occupation Health Sciences, Division of Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences, UIC School of Public Health. Smart and an independent thinker. We’ve seen her take her role on the Board seriously. She’s not afraid to say “I don’t have enough information to make an informed decision.” And it’s her quote that “this place is starting to feel like an upscale dorm.” That took courage. OUR RATING: 4 stars (Would have given Serap five stars but we took off a point for not holding the president accountable and the apparent unwillingness to lead.)
4. Ann Marie DelMonico — Independent Design Professional. Has done some good work for 111 in that regard. But, regrettably, the consensus is that she’s not been the strongest Board member. Her zero-effort candidacy application reflects that. OUR RATING: 3 stars (Would have given her two stars but word is that she’s aligned with other Board members in opposition to the current president and she’s interested in a change in leadership. However, she too is unwilling or unable to step up.)
5. Mike Fish — Huge disappointment. He was asked to join the Board because of his resume, i.e. 30 years experience in real estate. Most of all, the expectation was that he’d keep things honest and transparent. Regrettably, as Treasurer, he’s been personally involved in some of the funny-money debt-funded reserves. Some say, he’s just a landlord and 111 is just a tax write-off. As such, we’ve written him off, too. OUR RATING: 1 star (Would have liked to give Fish five stars but he’s let us down. The exact things that need to change he’s fostered and helped whitewash. And he knew better.)
6. Ophir Frieder — Genius and then some. Arguably one of the brightest candidates we’ve ever had. His CV is 26 pages long. He’s the Department Chair of Computer Science at Georgetown University. While at IIT, his lab developed the search engine for Twitter. He’s no nonsense and as honest as they come. He’d be a huge asset to join the team. And he’d be a huge draw for additional talent joining our Board in the future. Ironically, he’d make a great president as he’d likely delegate to those around him and all homeowners who’d want to pitch in. In a word, he’d “lead.” OUR RATING: 5 stars
7. Diana Shay — Assistant VP at the insurance industry headhunting firm The Jacobson Group. her words, “Demonstrated ability to identify, evaluate and source qualified candidates both locally and nationally.” OUR RATING: ? (Really an unknown entity. We cannot give a rating here.)
8. Vikki Valentine — Loved and trusted by all, Vikki is known for her dedication to friends and family. She’s also an exceedingly talented administrator. Knows how to balance a budget. Headed office administration for the Communication Services Department at McDonald’s Corporation for 20 years. Now with the Quinlan School of Business at Loyola. Most of all, if we are looking to find a catalyst to reinvigorate community, she’d be the best bar none. Doesn’t have a dishonest cell in her body. She’d be the glue that holds the ensemble together. OUR RATING: 4 stars
There you have it. This year’s winning ticket is 2, 3, 6 and 8.